Environmental Hygiene Shows Severe Issues in Global Survey

Infection Control Today, Volume 26, Issue 6

From language barriers to lack of equipment, environmental hygiene is suffering throughout the world.

Health care environmental hygiene (HCEH) is vital to the safety and positive outcomes for patients regardless of where the facility is in the world. However, few, if any, major surveys have been done on the global stage. Recently, 50 health care facilities from 35 countries participated in a quantified review to find out what their practices are to figure out a baseline and to figure out what needs to be done to be done at all income levels.

This is the second part of a 2-part interview with Alexandra Peters, scientific lead for Clean Hospitals, Infection Control Program & World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety, The University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine in Geneva, Switzerland, and a lead author of the study, “Results of an international pilot survey on health care environmental hygiene at the facility level,” recently published by the America Journal of Infection Control spoke to Infection Control Today® (ICT®).

The first part of the interview can be found here:

“There are a lot of issues to access to products and supplies, like we know that that's not anything new. But I think what our survey showed was that there's a lot of things that are institutionally malfunctioning, and that are able to be changed without using a lot of additional resources,” Peters told ICT® in the interview. “But that the environmental hygiene programs are looked at more like hotel housekeeping, and they're not being addressed holistically, and they're not being addressed scientifically. And that's where I think we can make the most headway by developing a tool like this.”

This survey was only the first step in improving the HCEH throughout the world, but Peters is optimistic: “We've seen how a similar tool for hand hygiene has improved levels worldwide. I'd like to do the same thing for environmental hygiene.”